Anton Chekhov

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pages: 240 words: 65,363

Think Like a Freak by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner

Albert Einstein, Anton Chekhov, autonomous vehicles, Barry Marshall: ulcers, call centre, Cass Sunstein, colonial rule, Edward Glaeser, Everything should be made as simple as possible, food miles, Gary Taubes, income inequality, Internet Archive, Isaac Newton, medical residency, Metcalfe’s law, microbiome, prediction markets, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Scramble for Africa, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Tony Hsieh, transatlantic slave trade, éminence grise

All we’ve been doing in this book, really, is telling stories—about a hot-dog-eating champion, an ulcer detective, a man who wanted to give free surgery to the world’s poorest children. There are of course a million variations in how a given story can be told: the ratio of narrative to data; the pace and flow and tone; the point of the narrative arc at which you “cut into” the story, as the great writer-doctor Anton Chekhov noted. We have been telling these stories in an effort to persuade you to think like a Freak. Perhaps we haven’t been entirely successful, but the fact you have read this far suggests we haven’t failed altogether. In that case, we invite you to listen to one more story. It’s about a classic piece of advice that just about everyone has received at one point or another—and why you should ignore it.

The Brady Bunch: Drawn from a report by Kelton Research, “Motive Marketing: Ten Commandments Survey” (September 2007); and Reuters Wire, “Americans Know Big Macs Better Than Ten Commandments,” Reuters.com, October 12, 2007. 187 CONSIDER ONE MORE STORY FROM THE BIBLE: This can be found in II Samuel: 12. We are indebted to Jonathan Rosen for bringing to our attention how perfectly this story illustrated our point. Some of the words used to tell it here are his, as we could not improve upon them. 188 ANTON CHEKHOV AND WHERE TO “CUT INTO” A STORY: For this insight, we are indebted to a long-ago writing seminar taught by the great Richard Locke. CHAPTER 9: THE UPSIDE OF QUITTING 190 CHURCHILL AND “NEVER GIVE IN”: Transcript provided by the Churchill Centre at www.winstonchurchill.org. 190 “A QUITTER NEVER WINS, AND A WINNER NEVER QUITS”: In 1937, a self-help pundit named Napoleon Hill included that phrase in his very popular book Think and Grow Rich.


pages: 212 words: 68,754

Thinking in Numbers by Daniel Tammet

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Anton Chekhov, computer age, dematerialisation, Edmond Halley, Georg Cantor, index card, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, Paul Erdős, Searching for Interstellar Communications, Vilfredo Pareto

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser. A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the British Library ISBN 978 1 444 73742 4 Extract from The Lottery Ticket by Anton Chekhov; Extracts from Lolita by Vladamir Nabokov © Vladamir Nabokov, published by Orion Books is used by permission; Extract of interview with Vladamir Nabokov was taken from the BBC programme, Bookstand and is used with permission; Extracts by Julio Cortazar from Hopscotch, © Julio Cortazar, published by Random House New York; Quote from The Master’s Eye translated by Jean de la Fontaine; Quote from Under the Glacier by Halldor Laxness, © Halldor Laxness, published by Vintage Books, an imprint of Random House New York.

A dream has no beginning, and therefore no middle and no end. I dreamt I entered a house and found its inhabitants all lying on the floor. Lying, but talking and laughing and eating together. Lying instead of sitting. It was like a scene from a book that I had not read and that had not been written. How many such scenes are there to occupy our dreams, our lives, the pages of a book? Infinitely many. Like Elíasson’s sleepwriter, Anton Chekhov faithfully nurtured a little notebook throughout his remarkable career, though we can suppose that he used his mostly during waking hours. Filled with his day-to-day observations of existence’s minutiae, the pages preserve glimpses of ‘ordinary’ life’s infinite permutations. ‘Instead of sheets – dirty tablecloths.’ ‘In the bill preserved by the hotelkeeper was, among other things: “Bugs – fifteen kopecks.” ’ ‘If you wish women to love you, be original; I know a man who used to wear felt boots summer and winter, and women fell in love with him.’


pages: 266 words: 80,018

The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man by Luke Harding

affirmative action, airport security, Anton Chekhov, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Berlin Wall, Chelsea Manning, don't be evil, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Etonian, Firefox, Google Earth, Jacob Appelbaum, job-hopping, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, kremlinology, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, MITM: man-in-the-middle, national security letter, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rolodex, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, Steve Jobs, undersea cable, web application, WikiLeaks

Few, then, believe Kucherena is an independent player. He was one of very few people allowed to visit Snowden. During his trips to the airport he brought gifts. They included a Lonely Planet guide to Russia, and a guide to Moscow. The lawyer also selected several classics ‘to help Snowden understand the mentality of the Russian people’: Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, a collection of stories by Anton Chekhov, and writings by the historian Nikolai Karamzin. Snowden quickly polished off Crime and Punishment. After reading selections from Karamzin, a 19th-century writer who penned the first comprehensive history of the Russian state, he asked for the author’s complete works. Kucherena also gave him a book on the Cyrillic alphabet to help him learn Russian, and brought a change of clothes. Snowden was not able to go outside – ‘he breathes disgusting air, the air of the airport,’ Kucherena said – but remained in good health.

Dick said: ‘We need to establish whether they [some people] have or haven’t. That involves a huge amount of scoping of material.’ The journalists who published the Snowden revelations had been involved in the most thrilling story of their careers. It was in the public interest. Now, it seemed, they were suspects. Epilogue: Exile Somewhere near Moscow 2014–? ‘Even in Siberia there is happiness.’ ANTON CHEKHOV, In Exile For nine weeks Edward Snowden was mostly invisible. There was the odd photo – of a young man pushing a shopping trolley across a Moscow street. (Surely a fake? The man looked nothing like him!) Another leaked image was more convincing. It showed Snowden on a tourist boat cruising along the Moscow River. It’s summer. He’s wearing a cap, and has a beard. In the distance, a bridge and the golden domes of Christ the Saviour cathedral, blown up by Stalin and rebuilt by Yeltsin.


Ukraine by Lonely Planet

Anton Chekhov, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, centre right, Honoré de Balzac, low cost airline, megacity, Skype, stakhanovite, trade route

Kupidon Pub (Куп i дон ; Cupid; Click here ; vul Pushkinska 1-3/5; beer 14uah, meals 25-35uah; 10am-11pm; Khreshchatyk) Apocalyptically dubbing itself ‘the last shelter for the Ukrainian intelligentsia’, this is in fact a missionary station spreading Ukrainian culture in the Russian-speaking capital. Siege mentality apart, Cupid is a lovely Lviv-styled knaypa (pub) with an attached bookshop – a favourite drinking den for nationalist-leaning and cosmopolitan bohemians alike. Palata No.6 Pub (Палата No.6; Ward No.6; 486 5152; vul Vorovskoho 31A; noon-2am; Universytet) For a healthy dose of insanity sneak into this well-hidden bar named after Anton Chekhov’s story about life in a madhouse. Dressed in doctors’ white robes, stern-looking waiters nurse you with excellent steaks (mains 40uah to 60uah) and with giant syringes pour vodka into your glass. A perfect cure for the maddening quotidian. Baraban Pub (Барабан ; Drum; Click here ; vul Prorizna 4A; beer 14uah, mains 40-60uah; 11am-11pm; Maydan Nezalezhnosti) This popular journo hang-out is hard to find, but a colourful cast of regulars manages to do so on a nightly basis.

For details contact guide Sergey Sorokin (www.mt.crimea.com). Yalta ЯЛТА 0654 / pop 80,500 Yalta’s air – an invigorating blend of sea and pine forest sprinkled with mountain chill – has always been its main asset. Back in the 19th century, doctors in St Petersburg had one remedy for poor-lunged aristocrats: Yalta. That is how the Russian royal family and other dignitaries, such as playwright Anton Chekhov, ended up here. Old parts of Yalta are still full of modest and not-so-modest former dachas of the tsarist-era intelligentsia , while the coast around the city is dotted with the luxurious palaces of the aristocracy. But back in 1913, a Russian travel guide remarked that Yalta was a long way from the Riviera in terms of comforts and civilization. And it hasn’t got any closer, despite the extremely beautiful setting in the shade of the chalk-faced Mt Ay-Petri.

Yalta Top Sights Lenin's EmbankmentB3 Sights 1Alexander Nevsky CathedralD2 2Catholic ChurchB2 3History MuseumC3 4Statue of LeninE3 Sleeping 5BristolF3 6KrymF3 7OreandaC4 8OtdykhG4 9Vremena GodaG2 10White EagleB2 Eating 11ApelsinC3 12Khutorok La MerF4 13NobuC4 14PelmennayaF4 15SmakC3 16Teatralnoye CaféD3 Drinking 17PintaF3 18PintaC3 Entertainment 19Chekhov Theatre of Russian DramaC3 Sights & Activities Chekhov House-Museum Museum (www.chekhov.com.ua; vul Kirova 112; adult/student 30/15uah; 10am-5pm, last entry 4.30pm Tue-Sun Jun-Sep, Wed-Sun Sep-May) With many of Yalta’s attractions a short distance away, the Chekhov House-Museum is the only must-see in town. It’s sort of The Cherry Orchard incarnate. Not only did Anton Chekhov (1860–1904) pen that classic play here, the lush garden would appeal to the most horticulturally challenged audience. A long-term tuberculosis sufferer, the great Russian dramatist spent much of his last five years in Yalta. He designed the white dacha and garden himself and when he wasn’t producing plays like Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard, he was a legendary host and bon vivant , welcoming the Russian singer Feodor Chaliapin, composer Rachmaninov and writers Maxim Gorky and Leo Tolstoy.


How to Write Like Tolstoy: A Journey Into the Minds of Our Greatest Writers by Richard Cohen

Anton Chekhov, Bonfire of the Vanities, colonial rule, Honoré de Balzac, index card, Joan Didion, non-fiction novel, Norman Mailer, Ronald Reagan, University of East Anglia

Do you solemnly swear never to conceal a vital clue from the reader? Do you promise to observe a seemly moderation in the use of Gangs, Conspiracies, Death-Rays, Ghosts, Hypnotism, Trap-Doors, Chinamen, Super-Criminals and Lunatics; and utterly and forever to forswear Mysterious Poisons unknown to Science?” And finally: “Will you honor the King’s English?” One author who would never have made the club, had it been instituted in his day, was Anton Chekhov, who in 1884 employed a narrator who turns out to be the murderer in a 180-page melodrama, The Shooting Party, his one novel. *4 I admit this is my interpretation. Is the governess in fact mad, or is she correct in thinking that her two young charges are consorting with a pair of malevolent spirits? The reader becomes a jury of one, and must determine her guilt or innocence. In a 2015 issue of Publishers Weekly, two authors of books with unreliable narrators—Colin Winnette with Coyote, which features a possibly unhinged mother, and Jeremy M.

Writing well is a matter of getting the balance right—between getting the ideal word or phrase and working the text too hard so that it appears self-conscious or labored; between saying enough for the reader to understand and saying not too much; making sure the reader attends to the song, not the singer. So much of revision is small changes and knowing when and what to omit. Hemingway once wryly observed that half of what he wrote he left out. Anton Chekhov, besieged by writers wanting his opinion on their work, would advise them all, “Cut, cut, cut!” “Writing a book is like building a coral reef,” P. G. Wodehouse considered. “One goes on adding tiny bits. I must say the result is much better. With my stuff it is largely a matter of adding color and seeing that I don’t let anything through that’s at all flat.” Norman Mailer was so delighted by one small edit he made that he recorded it in The Spooky Art as an example of good revision.


pages: 51 words: 14,616

The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels

Anton Chekhov, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, joint-stock company, means of production, Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Upton Sinclair

Barrie, 0-553-21178-1 BRADBURY CLASSIC STORIES, Ray Bradbury, 0-553-28637-4 THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES, Ray Bradbury, 0-553-27822-3 JANE EYRE, Charlotte Brontë, 0-553-21140-4 VILLETTE, Charlotte Brontë, 0-553-21243-5 WUTHERING HEIGHTS, Emily Brontë, 0-553-21258-3 THE SECRET GARDEN, Frances Hodgson Burnett, 0-553-21201-X ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND & THROUGH THE LOOKING-GLASS, Lewis Carroll, 0-553-21345-8 MY ÁNTONIA, Willa Cather, 0-553-21418-7 O PIONEERS!, Willa Cather, 0-553-21358-X THE CANTERBURY TALES, Geoffrey Chaucer, 0-553-21082-3 STORIES, Anton Chekhov, 0-553-38100-8 THE AWAKENING, Kate Chopin, 0-553-21330-X THE WOMAN IN WHITE, Wilkie Collins, 0-553-21263-X HEART OF DARKNESS and THE SECRET SHARER, Joseph Conrad, 0-553-21214-1 LORD JIM, Joseph Conrad, 0-553-21361-X THE DEERSLAYER, James Fenimore Cooper, 0-553-21085-8 THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS, James Fenimore Cooper, 0-553-21329-6 MAGGIE: A GIRL OF THE STREETS AND OTHER SHORT FICTION, Stephen Crane, 0-553-21355-5 THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE, Stephen Crane, 0-553-21011-4 INFERNO, Dante, 0-553-21339-3 PARADISO, Dante, 0-553-21204-4 PURGATORIO, Dante, 0-553-21344-X THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES, Charles Darwin, 0-553-21463-2 MOLL FLANDERS, Daniel Defoe, 0-553-21328-8 ROBINSON CRUSOE, Daniel Defoe, 0-553-21373-3 BLEAK HOUSE, Charles Dickens, 0-553-21223-0 A CHRISTMAS CAROL, Charles Dickens, 0-553-21244-3 DAVID COPPERFIELD, Charles Dickens, 0-553-21189-7 GREAT EXPECTATIONS, Charles Dickens, 0-553-21342-3 HARD TIMES, Charles Dickens, 0-553-21016-5 OLIVER TWIST, Charles Dickens, 0-553-21102-1 THE PICKWICK PAPERS, Charles Dickens, 0-553-21123-4 A TALE OF TWO CITIES, Charles Dickens, 0-553-21176-5 THREE SOLDIERS, John Dos Passos, 0-553-21456-X THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV, Fyodor Dostoevsky, 0-553-21216-8 CRIME AND PUNISHMENT, Fyodor Dostoevsky, 0-553-21175-7 THE ETERNAL HUSBAND AND OTHER STORIES, Fyodor Dostoevsky, 0-553-21444-6 THE IDIOT, Fyodor Dostoevsky, 0-553-21352-0 NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND, Fyodor Dostoevsky, 0-553-21144-7 SHERLOCK HOLMES VOL I, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 0-553-21241-9 SHERLOCK HOLMES VOL II, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 0-553-21242-7 SISTER CARRIE, Theodore Dreiser, 0-553-21374-1 THE SOULS OF BLACK FOLK, W.


pages: 544 words: 168,076

Red Plenty by Francis Spufford

affirmative action, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, asset allocation, Buckminster Fuller, clean water, cognitive dissonance, computer age, double helix, Fellow of the Royal Society, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, Kitchen Debate, linear programming, market clearing, MITM: man-in-the-middle, New Journalism, oil shock, Philip Mirowski, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit motive, RAND corporation, Simon Kuznets, the scientific method

For a general exploration of what Soviet intellectuals under Khrushchev knew about the world, see Robert English, Russia and the Idea of the West: Gorbachev, Intellectuals, and the End of the Cold War (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000). 7 But Marx had drawn a nightmare picture: for Marx’s vision of the alienated dance of the commodities, and its philosophical roots and imaginative implications, see Edmund Wilson, To the Finland Station: A Study in the Writing and Acting of History (New York, 1940), ch. 15, and Kolakowski, Main Currents of Marxism, pp. 226–74. 8 Machine-Tractor Station: the rural depots, with their own specialised workforce, where the equipment for mechanised farming was kept (until Khrushchev disastrously sold the machinery to the collective farms, which had no budget to maintain it). For the sorry history of Soviet agriculture, see Alec Nove, Economic History of the USSR, 1917–1991, final edition (London, 1992). 9 It looked like the set for some Chekhov story: specifically, ‘Peasants’, in Anton Chekhov, The Lady with the Little Dog and Other Stories, 1896– 1904, translated by Ronald Wilks (London: Penguin, 2004) – though Emil appears to be thinking of ‘Gooseberries’ in the same collection. See also Janet Malcolm, Reading Chekhov: A Critical Journey (New York: Random House, 2001). A portrait of Soviet peasant life more contemporary with Emil’s walk (but no less depressing) is Solzhenitsyn’s ‘Matryona’s House’, in Matryona’s House and Other Stories, translated by Michael Glenny (London: Penguin, 1975). 10 A good Kazan Muslim: the implication here is that, at least on his father’s side, Emil Arslanovich is a Tatar.

For a general exploration of what Soviet intellectuals under Khrushchev knew about the world, see Robert English, Russia and the Idea of the West: Gorbachev, Intellectuals, and the End of the Cold War (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000). 7 But Marx had drawn a nightmare picture: for Marx’s vision of the alienated dance of the commodities, and its philosophical roots and imaginative implications, see Edmund Wilson, To the Finland Station: A Study in the Writing and Acting of History (New York, 1940), ch. 15, and Kolakowski, Main Currents of Marxism, pp. 226–74. 8 Machine-Tractor Station: the rural depots, with their own specialised workforce, where the equipment for mechanised farming was kept (until Khrushchev disastrously sold the machinery to the collective farms, which had no budget to maintain it). For the sorry history of Soviet agriculture, see Alec Nove, Economic History of the USSR, 1917–1991, final edition (London, 1992). 9 It looked like the set for some Chekhov story: specifically, ‘Peasants’, in Anton Chekhov, The Lady with the Little Dog and Other Stories, 1896– 1904, translated by Ronald Wilks (London: Penguin, 2004) – though Emil appears to be thinking of ‘Gooseberries’ in the same collection. See also Janet Malcolm, Reading Chekhov: A Critical Journey (New York: Random House, 2001). A portrait of Soviet peasant life more contemporary with Emil’s walk (but no less depressing) is Solzhenitsyn’s ‘Matryona’s House’, in Matryona’s House and Other Stories, translated by Michael Glenny (London: Penguin, 1975). 10 A good Kazan Muslim: the implication here is that, at least on his father’s side, Emil Arslanovich is a Tatar.

Kiselyova, The Collapse of the Soviet Union: The View from the Information Society (Berkeley CA: University of California Press, 1995) Manuel Castells, The Information Age: Volume III: End of Millennium (Oxford: Blackwell, 1998) Martin Cave, Computers and Economic Planning: The Soviet Experience (Cambridge: CUP, 1980) Janet G. Chapman, Real Wages in Soviet Russia Since 1928, RAND Corporation report R-371-PR (Santa Monica CA, October 1963) Anton Chekhov, The Lady with the Little Dog and Other Stories, 1896–1904, translated by Ronald Wilks (London: Penguin, 2004) L. G. Churchward, The Soviet Intelligentsia: An Essay on the Social Structure and Roles of Soviet Intellectuals During the 1960s (London: RKP, 1973) Robert Conquest, Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivisation and the Terror- Famine (London: Pimlico, 2002) Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Gambler, translated by Hugh Aplin (London: Hesperus Press, 2006) Vera S.


Little Failure: A Memoir by Gary Shteyngart

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, East Village, glass ceiling, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, New Journalism, Ronald Reagan, Yom Kippur War, young professional

The reason I still speak, think, dream, and quake in fear in Russian has to do with my parents’ dictum that only Russian be spoken in the home. It’s a trade-off. While I will retain my Russian, my parents will struggle with the new language, nothing being more instructive than having a child prattle on in English at the dinner table. Not to mention that after borrowing $9,600 for one floor of 252-67 Sixty-Third Avenue we cannot afford a television, so instead of The Dukes of Hazzard, I turn to the collected works of Anton Chekhov, eight battered volumes of which still sit on my bookshelves. Without television there is absolutely nothing to talk about with any of the children at school. It turns out these little porkers have very little interest in “Gooseberries” or “Lady with Lapdog,” and it is impossible in the early 1980s to hear a sentence spoken by a child without an allusion to something shown on TV. “NEEEEERD!”

My parents aren’t telling me to become a writer—everyone knows that immigrant children have to go into law, medicine, or maybe that strange new category known only as “computer”—but placing the bookcase in my room sends the unmistakable message that I am our family’s future and that I have to be the best of the best. Which I will be, Mama and Papa, I swear. The bookcase contains the collected works of Anton Chekhov in eight dark blue volumes with the author’s seagull-like signature across every volume’s cover, and most of the collected works of Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, and Pushkin. In front of the Russian greats stands a siddur (the Jewish daily prayer book), enclosed in a plastic case and coated with fake silver and fake emeralds. It is written in a language none of us understands, but it is so holy that it blocks out the Pushkin that my parents have all but committed to memory.


pages: 383 words: 118,458

The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux

Anton Chekhov, British Empire, Khyber Pass, means of production, Occam's razor, South China Sea, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, working poor

And don't think I'm saying that simply because we're both Turkish or because he's my best friend.' Aziz Nesin, who was across the room mournfully nibbling an American embassy vol-au-vent, has written fifty-eight books. Most are collections of short stories. They are said to be hilarious, but none has been translated into English. 'I have no doubt about it,' Yashar said. 'Aziz Nesin is a greater comic writer than Anton Chekhov!' Aziz Nesin, hearing his name, looked up and smiled sadly. 'Come to my house,' said Yashar. 'We go swimming, eh? Eat some fish? I will tell you the whole story.' 'How will I find your house?' I had asked Yashar the previous day. He said, 'Ask any child. The old people don't know me, but all the little ones do. I make kites for them.' I took him at his word, and when I arrived at the apartment block on a bluff above a Marmara fishing village called Menakse, I asked a fairly small child the way to Yashar's house.

Salinger - 'Kholden Khaulfield is best character in every literature.' I said I was an admirer of Zamyatin, but they had not heard of the author of We (a novel that inspired Orwell to write 1984, which it resembles), who died in Paris in the twenties trying to write a biography of Attila the Hun. I asked if there were any novelists in Khabarovsk. 'Chekhov was here,' said Nastasya. In 1890, Anton Chekhov visited Sakhalin, an island of convicts, 700 miles from Khabarovsk. But in Siberia all distances are relative: Sakhalin was right next door. 'Who else do you like?' I asked. Nastasya said, 'Now you want to ask me about Solzhenitsyn.' 'I wasn't going to,' I said. 'But since you mentioned him, what do you think?' 'I do not like.' 'Have you read him?' 'No.' 'Do you think there's any truth in the statement that socialist realism is anti-Marxist?'


pages: 251 words: 44,888

The Words You Should Know to Sound Smart: 1200 Essential Words Every Sophisticated Person Should Be Able to Use by Bobbi Bly

Albert Einstein, Alistair Cooke, Anton Chekhov, British Empire, Columbine, Donald Trump, George Santayana, haute couture, Honoré de Balzac, Joan Didion, John Nash: game theory, Network effects, placebo effect, Ralph Waldo Emerson, school vouchers, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs

tort (TORT), noun In law, a civil misdeed requiring compensation of the victims. Cutting the branches off a neighbor’s tree that went over the fence into your yard is, at most, a TORT, not a felony. tortuous (TORE-chew-us), adjective Intricate and indirect; not straightforward. “[Critics] don’t know that it is hard to write a good play, and twice as hard and TORTUOUS to write a bad one.” – Anton Chekhov, Russian dramatist totem (TOH-tuhm), noun Anything that serves as a venerated symbol. Our various formal and informal gardens are TOTEMS to our emphasis on the importance of the natural world. tout (TOWT), verb To publicize in a boastful, extravagant manner. Eloise TOUTED the excellence of her family’s new personal chef to a gauche and distasteful degree. tractable (TRACK-tuh-bull), adjective Easy going; easily managed.


pages: 219 words: 51,207

Religion for Atheists: A Non-Believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion by Alain de Botton

Anton Chekhov, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Silicon Valley

(illustration credit 4.12) Our favourite secular books do not alert us to how inadequate a one-off linear reading of them will prove. They do not identify the particular days of the year on which we ought to reconsider them, as the holy books do – in the latter case with 200 others around us and an organ playing in the background. There is arguably as much wisdom to be found in the stories of Anton Chekhov as in the Gospels, but collections of the former are not bound with calendars reminding readers to schedule a regular review of their insights. We would face grave accusations of eccentricity if we attempted to construct liturgies from the works of secular authors. At best, we haphazardly underline a few of the sentences that we most admire in them and which we may once in a while chance upon in an idle moment waiting for a taxi.


pages: 171 words: 51,276

Infinity in the Palm of Your Hand: Fifty Wonders That Reveal an Extraordinary Universe by Marcus Chown

Albert Einstein, Anton Chekhov, Arthur Eddington, Carrington event, dark matter, Donald Trump, double helix, Edmond Halley, gravity well, horn antenna, Isaac Newton, Kickstarter, microbiome, Richard Feynman, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Solar eclipse in 1919, Stephen Hawking, Turing machine

Over many months or years, this rocket effect could nudge the body’s trajectory, shifting it from harm’s way. Since such a space technology is still over the horizon, we will simply have to keep our fingers crossed that we are not as unlucky as the dinosaurs. And ponder what we would do if we suddenly realized we had only ten seconds to live! 14. SECRET OF SUNLIGHT Contrary to expectations, the earth does not have an energy crisis “Only entropy comes easy.” —ANTON CHEKHOV HOW MUCH ENERGY DOES the earth trap from the sun? The answer is, surprisingly, none. All of the solar energy intercepted by our planet is radiated back into space.1 Were this not the case, the earth would simply get ever hotter until its surface became a molten goo. So, if it is not solar energy that is ultimately powering every living thing on Earth, not to mention our global technological civilization, what is it?


pages: 222 words: 53,317

Overcomplicated: Technology at the Limits of Comprehension by Samuel Arbesman

algorithmic trading, Anton Chekhov, Apple II, Benoit Mandelbrot, citation needed, combinatorial explosion, Danny Hillis, David Brooks, digital map, discovery of the americas, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flash crash, friendly AI, game design, Google X / Alphabet X, Googley, HyperCard, Inbox Zero, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Kevin Kelly, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, mandelbrot fractal, Minecraft, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, Parkinson's law, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, software studies, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, superintelligent machines, Therac-25, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

We find it in our ecosystems and in the chaos of technology that we rely on every day. We find it in the Greek pantheon, and in many other stories we tell ourselves. Storytelling, in fact, allows us to indulge our desires for either biological or physics thinking. Some stories are finely crafted machines with no extraneous parts; everything fits together. We see this in “Chekhov’s Gun,” dramatist Anton Chekhov’s principle that any element introduced in a story must be crucial to advancing the plot. A loaded rifle introduced early in the first act of a play must go off by the third. On the other hand, there are some stories in which color is added, creating a richness of experience without necessarily moving the plot along. Homer’s catalog of the invading Greek ships in the Iliad, and Kramer’s growing list of never-seen eccentric friends on Seinfeld—Bob Sacamano, Lomez, Corky Ramirez—are not essential plot points, but they are important.


pages: 648 words: 165,654

Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East by Robin Wright

Anton Chekhov, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, central bank independence, colonial rule, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, old-boy network, rolodex, Saturday Night Live, Thomas L Friedman, uranium enrichment

But when I talk about them, they also pay a cost. And when they imprisoned me for six years, the cost was higher to them.” EIGHT IRAN The Reactionaries If you cry “Forward!” you must without fail make plain in what direction to go. Don’t you see that if, without doing so, you call out the word to both a monk and a revolutionary, they will go in directions precisely opposite? —RUSSIAN PLAYWRIGHT ANTON CHEKHOV The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution. —AMERICAN POLITICAL THEORIST HANNAH ARENDT Islam’s priests will wield enormous political influence during the Middle East’s turbulent transitions. Many already do. They fill a void created by the imprisonment, exile, or execution of secular democrats and other opponents. Religion’s utopian ideals define goals; its institutions offer instruments of action when other avenues are barred.

And they were tired of the reformers’ inability to fulfill their promises,” he said. “So many people thought the conservatives might at least be able to do something economically.” Many Iranians did not initially take Ahmandinejad seriously. Some saw him as a bit of a bumpkin. As mayor, he had banned billboard ads featuring Western celebrities, such as British soccer star David Beckham. He closed down cultural centers that had performed the works of Arthur Miller, Anton Chekhov, and Victor Hugo and converted them into religious education centers. Tehran’s ever-frenzied grapevine speculated that he would segregate, by sex, all public elevators, parks, and even sidewalks. An Iranian friend recounted a joke that had Ahmadinejad standing in front of a mirror combing his hair and repeating, “OK, male lice to the left, female lice to the right.” Cell phones are ubiquitous in Tehran, and the text-message crowd frantically exchanged new “Mahmoud” jokes, irreverently referring to the new president by his first name.


pages: 249 words: 81,217

The Art of Rest: How to Find Respite in the Modern Age by Claudia Hammond

Anton Chekhov, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, Desert Island Discs, Donald Trump, El Camino Real, iterative process, Kickstarter, lifelogging, longitudinal study, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, moral panic, Stephen Hawking, The Spirit Level, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen

And a member of Victor Nell’s hundred-books-a-month family remarked that reading is a kind of disease which means that on the one hand life passes him by, but on the other he is allowed to escape into a wider world. Of course, if you are hoping for distraction not every book will suffice. In a study where people suffering from chronic pain read short stories or poems in a group, it was the most challenging and thought-provoking literature which the participants found best distracted them from their agonies. The more intriguing and puzzling the story, such as those by Anton Chekhov, D.H. Lawrence and Raymond Carver, the more absorbed they felt, and the less they noticed their pain.17 Nell divided his ludic readers into two types: those who read to escape from their world, who blotted out all thoughts of what was going in their lives; and those who did the opposite, who wanted to heighten their own consciousness and used reading about the lives of others as a way of reflecting on their own.


pages: 255 words: 92,719

All Day Long: A Portrait of Britain at Work by Joanna Biggs

Anton Chekhov, bank run, banking crisis, call centre, Chelsea Manning, credit crunch, David Graeber, Desert Island Discs, Downton Abbey, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial independence, future of work, G4S, glass ceiling, industrial robot, job automation, land reform, low skilled workers, mittelstand, Northern Rock, payday loans, Right to Buy, Second Machine Age, six sigma, Steve Jobs, trickle-down economics, unpaid internship, wages for housework, Wall-E

First published in 2015 by Serpent’s Tail, an imprint of Profile Books Ltd 3 Holford Yard Bevin Way London WC1X 9HD www.serpentstail.com eISBN 978 1 78283 014 6 To Mum IRINA: A time will come when everyone will know what all this is for, why there is this misery; there will be no mysteries and, meanwhile, we have got to live … we have got to work, only to work! Tomorrow I’ll go alone; I’ll teach in the school, and I’ll give all my life to those who may need me. Now it’s autumn; soon winter will come and cover us with snow, and I will work, I will work. Anton Chekhov, Three Sisters CONTENTS IN DOVER MAKING: potter, shoemaker, robot SELLING: fishmonger, creative director, councillor, homesteader, legal aid lawyer SERVING: sex worker, baristas, call centre adviser, special adviser LEADING: company director, stay-at-home mum, hereditary lord ENTERTAINING: dancer, footballer, giggle doctor THINKING: scientist, question writer, professor CARING: care worker, cleaner, crofter REPAIRING: rabbi, army major, nurse STARTING: apprentice, intern, technologist, unemployed, on workfare AT SCHOOL References Acknowledgements IN DOVER IN THE COLD BACK ROOM of a charity shop, a group of volunteers are working.


pages: 340 words: 94,464

Randomistas: How Radical Researchers Changed Our World by Andrew Leigh

Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Anton Chekhov, Atul Gawande, basic income, Black Swan, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, Donald Trump, ending welfare as we know it, Estimating the Reproducibility of Psychological Science, experimental economics, Flynn Effect, germ theory of disease, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, Indoor air pollution, Isaac Newton, Kickstarter, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Lyft, Marshall McLuhan, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, Netflix Prize, nudge unit, offshore financial centre, p-value, placebo effect, price mechanism, publication bias, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, statistical model, Steven Pinker, uber lyft, universal basic income, War on Poverty

Hill had no formal training in medicine, or in statistics, but he had spent years thinking through the issues as he taught his students and engaged with his research colleagues. The trial was a success, and streptomycin today remains one of the drugs that is used to treat tuberculosis. In the past two centuries alone, tuberculosis has killed more than 1 billion people – more than the combined toll from all the wars and famines in that time.13 Among the victims of ‘the white plague’ were Frédéric Chopin, Anton Chekhov, Franz Kafka, Emily Brontë, George Orwell and Eleanor Roosevelt. Today, tuberculosis still accounts for more than a million deaths worldwide each year. Strains of the disease that are resistant to streptomycin and other antibiotics are becoming increasingly prevalent. Austin Bradford Hill didn’t eliminate the disease that nearly killed him. But he did help to transform medicine. As one colleague wrote of his contribution, Hill brought ‘a quantitative approach to the prevention of diseases’


pages: 327 words: 90,542

The Age of Stagnation: Why Perpetual Growth Is Unattainable and the Global Economy Is in Peril by Satyajit Das

"Robert Solow", 9 dash line, accounting loophole / creative accounting, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Anton Chekhov, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collaborative economy, colonial exploitation, computer age, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Downton Abbey, Emanuel Derman, energy security, energy transition, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, financial repression, forward guidance, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, global supply chain, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, happiness index / gross national happiness, Honoré de Balzac, hydraulic fracturing, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, informal economy, Innovator's Dilemma, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, light touch regulation, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, margin call, market design, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, old age dependency ratio, open economy, passive income, peak oil, peer-to-peer lending, pension reform, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, precariat, price stability, profit maximization, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, Rana Plaza, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, ride hailing / ride sharing, rising living standards, risk/return, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Satyajit Das, savings glut, secular stagnation, seigniorage, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, TaskRabbit, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, the market place, the payments system, The Spirit Level, Thorstein Veblen, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade route, transaction costs, uber lyft, unpaid internship, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks, Y2K, Yom Kippur War, zero-coupon bond, zero-sum game

Attending investors probably believed that his closeness to his successor might provide valuable insights into the Fed's future policy. The sixty-year-old Bernanke gave the impression that he did not expect official rates to increase to their long-term average of around 4 percent in his lifetime. There is in fact little agreement on the appropriate policy response. As Russian playwright and doctor Anton Chekhov wrote in The Cherry Orchard, “If many remedies are prescribed for an illness, you may be certain that the illness has no cure.”22 Policymakers are making it up as they go along. The measures are basically of limited use but are presented to a credulous public as sound policy. At the start of the GFC, the choice was always pain now or agony later. Policymakers have consciously or unconsciously chosen the latter, engineering a long period of stagnation or a managed depression.


pages: 976 words: 235,576

The Meritocracy Trap: How America's Foundational Myth Feeds Inequality, Dismantles the Middle Class, and Devours the Elite by Daniel Markovits

"Robert Solow", 8-hour work day, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, affirmative action, Anton Chekhov, asset-backed security, assortative mating, basic income, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, business cycle, capital asset pricing model, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, computer age, corporate governance, corporate raider, crony capitalism, David Brooks, deskilling, Detroit bankruptcy, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, Emanuel Derman, equity premium, European colonialism, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, fear of failure, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, glass ceiling, helicopter parent, high net worth, hiring and firing, income inequality, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, mass incarceration, medical residency, minimum wage unemployment, Myron Scholes, Nate Silver, New Economic Geography, new economy, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, precariat, purchasing power parity, rent-seeking, Richard Florida, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, school choice, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, six sigma, Skype, stakhanovite, stem cell, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, telemarketer, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, Thomas Davenport, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, transaction costs, traveling salesman, universal basic income, unpaid internship, Vanguard fund, War on Poverty, Winter of Discontent, women in the workforce, working poor, young professional, zero-sum game

Indeed, the term entered mainstream thought through the economist Gary Becker—meritocracy’s most formidable ideologue, both for better and for worse—who used it as the title of a book published in 1964. See Gary Becker, Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (New York: Columbia University Press, 1964). The use of “leaved” and “conceived” borrows from Philip Larkin, “Long Lion Days,” in Larkin, The Complete Poems, 323. “devours everything in its path”: See Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard, in Anton Chekhov, Plays, trans. Elisaveta Fen (New York: Viking Penguin, 1959), 363. “Human Capital Management”: Kevin Roose, Young Money: Inside the Hidden World of Wall Street’s Post-Crash Recruits (New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2014), 35, and “Human Capital Management,” Goldman Sachs, accessed July 16, 2018, www.goldmansachs.com/careers/divisions/human-capital-management/. Fewer than one in one hundred jobs: Here see the calculations reported in Daniel Markovits, “How Much Redistribution Should There Be?


The Europeans: Three Lives and the Making of a Cosmopolitan Culture by Orlando Figes

Anton Chekhov, British Empire, glass ceiling, global village, Honoré de Balzac, Internet Archive, Murano, Venice glass, new economy, New Journalism, Republic of Letters, wikimedia commons

The Polish pianist and composer Tekla Bądarzewska-Baranowska also struck gold with her ‘A Maiden’s Prayer’, originally published in Warsaw and reissued as a supplement to Schlesinger’s Revue et Gazette musicale de Paris. Pianistically trite with brilliant effects that were not hard to play, the piece remained a bestseller until the beginning of the twentieth century, when it became a symbol of provincial mediocrity (‘And tomorrow morning I won’t have to listen to that “Maiden’s Prayer” any more,’ says Irina, bound for Moscow, in the final act of Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters, as its saccharine melody wafts into the garden from a drawing-room).89 Louise Farrenc (1804–75) and Louise Bertin (1805–77) were exceptional in overcoming the obstacles preventing women from composing music in larger forms – Farrenc wrote orchestral works, Bertin operas – but they had considerable advantages. Both were encouraged by their families: Farrenc was born into a dynasty of distinguished artists, the Dumonts, and she married an amateur composer turned music publisher who championed her work; while Bertin’s father was the editor of the influential Journal des débats.

HL, MUS 264 (365), Pauline Viardot Journal, memoir dated 1889. 85. Marcia J. Citron, Gender and the Musical Canon (Cambridge, 1993), pp. 56–7; Borchard, ‘“Ma chère petite Clara”’, p. 136. 86. Anna Eugénie Schoen-René, America’s Musical Inheritance (New York, 1941), p. 134. 87. BMO, NLA 357, Pauline Viardot to Henri Heugel, 21 Feb. 1882. 88. Marix-Spire, ‘Vicissitudes d’un opera-comique’, p. 66. 89. Anton Chekhov, Three Sisters, in Plays, trans. Peter Carson (London, 2002), p. 265. 90. François-Joseph Fétis, Biographie universelle des musiciens et bibliographie générale de la musique: Supplément et complément (Paris, 1878), p. 314. See further, Bea Friedland, Louise Farrenc, 1804–1875: Composer, Performer, Scholar (Ann Arbor, 1980). 91. GJ, vol. 1, p. 941. 92. Gustave Flaubert, Lettres inédites à Tourgueneff (Monaco, 1946), p. 3. 93.


pages: 346 words: 101,255

The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters by Rose George

American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Anton Chekhov, Bob Geldof, Celtic Tiger, clean water, glass ceiling, indoor plumbing, informal economy, job satisfaction, John Snow's cholera map, joint-stock company, land reform, low cost airline, Nelson Mandela, New Urbanism, Pepto Bismol, Potemkin village, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Steven Pinker, urban planning

The great architect Le Corbusier considered the toilet to be “one of the most beautiful objects industry has ever invented”; and Rudyard Kipling found sewers more compelling than literature. Drains are “a great and glorious thing,” he wrote in 1886, “and I study ’em and write about ’em when I can.” A decent primer on sanitary engineering, he wrote, “is worth more than all the tomes of sacred smut ever produced.” Anton Chekhov was moved to write about the dreadful sanitation in the far-eastern Russian isle of Sakhalin. And Sigmund Freud thought the study of excretion essential and its neglect a stupidity. In the foreword to Scatologic Rites of All Nations, an impressive ethnography of excrement by the amateur anthropologist—and U.S. army captain—John Bourke, Freud wrote that “to make [the role of excretions in human life] more accessible . . . is not only a courageous but also a meritorious undertaking.”


pages: 350 words: 103,988

Reinventing the Bazaar: A Natural History of Markets by John McMillan

"Robert Solow", accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, Alvin Roth, Andrei Shleifer, Anton Chekhov, Asian financial crisis, congestion charging, corporate governance, corporate raider, crony capitalism, Dava Sobel, Deng Xiaoping, experimental economics, experimental subject, fear of failure, first-price auction, frictionless, frictionless market, George Akerlof, George Gilder, global village, Hernando de Soto, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, income inequality, income per capita, informal economy, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job-hopping, John Harrison: Longitude, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, land reform, lone genius, manufacturing employment, market clearing, market design, market friction, market microstructure, means of production, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, ought to be enough for anybody, pez dispenser, pre–internet, price mechanism, profit maximization, profit motive, proxy bid, purchasing power parity, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, sealed-bid auction, second-price auction, Silicon Valley, spectrum auction, Stewart Brand, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, transaction costs, War on Poverty, Xiaogang Anhui farmers, yield management

But AT&T was such a strong incumbent that market forces alone would not have brought any new competitors. Ending the telephone monopoly required government action. At the time it was controversial: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” AT&T’s supporters said. Hindsight shows the antitrust authorities were right to intervene, as the breakup of AT&T quickened innovation and lowered long-distance prices. Competition can be liberating. In The Cherry Orchard, Anton Chekhov conveys the thrill of winning. The estate of impoverished aristocrats (the cherry orchard of the title) was auctioned off. Lopakhin, a businessman of humble origins, described the bidding: “I bid forty. Him—forty-five. Me—fifty-five. So he’s going up in fives, me in tens…Well that was that. I bid the mortgage plus ninety, and there it stayed. So now the cherry orchard is mine! Mine! Great God in heaven—the cherry orchard is mine!


pages: 401 words: 108,855

Cultureshock Paris by Cultureshock Staff

Anton Chekhov, clean water, haute couture, haute cuisine, Honoré de Balzac, indoor plumbing, Louis Pasteur, money market fund, QWERTY keyboard, Skype, telemarketer, urban renewal, young professional

No matter what you wish to watch, you’ll probably find it, from international classics in elegant and historical surroundings to offbeat performances in funky, non-mainstream storefronts. The Comédie Française itself now performs at three venues (see its website), with an expanded repertoire ranging from the classics of Molière, Racine and Corneille to works by playwrights such as William Shakespeare, Samuel Beckett and Anton Chekhov. These are performed in French of course, although there are performances in the original language from time to time. For current and upcoming productions at some 60 theatres in all parts of the city, access www. canaltheatre.com. La Cartoucherie in the beautiful Bois de Vincennes at the eastern edge of Paris is a complex of eight theatres, staging an imaginative range of international works, both classics and avant-garde.


pages: 341 words: 116,854

The Devil's Playground: A Century of Pleasure and Profit in Times Square by James Traub

Anton Chekhov, Broken windows theory, Buckminster Fuller, Charles Lindbergh, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, fear of failure, intangible asset, Jane Jacobs, jitney, light touch regulation, megastructure, New Urbanism, Peter Eisenman, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price mechanism, rent control, Ronald Reagan, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal

Like Ludlam, Aaron was deeply versed in classic drama, and loved the idea of running old plays through a kitschy modern sensibility. He had invented something he called Super-Theatrics, based on the insight that “you could deejay or sample any style of theater onto any text.” One of his first productions at Show World was Pervy Verse, which he described as “a retelling of The Bacchae in fetish gear.” He put on a production of Waiting for Godot, as well as all twelve of Anton Chekhov’s early comedies, which Chekhov had called vaudevilles. He staged a “Ridicu-fest” to honor Ludlam’s work. Nada Show World’s first hit was God of Vengeance, a 1910 Yiddish play by Sholem Asch that takes place in a brothel. The play had attracted a supremely odd combination of blue-haired ladies and Hasidic Jews; the latter invariably arrived without their identifying hat or overcoat, for God of Vengeance was a notorious play that had been banned for blasphemy.


pages: 347 words: 112,727

Rust: The Longest War by Jonathan Waldman

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, Anton Chekhov, computer age, David Brooks, digital map, Exxon Valdez, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Golden Gate Park, index card, Isaac Newton, Mason jar, pez dispenser, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Works Progress Administration, Y2K

Spoiled Iron 3. Knives That Won’t Cut 4. Coating the Can 5. Indiana Jane 6. The Ambassador 7. Where the Streets Are Paved with Zinc 8. Ten Thousand Mustachioed Men 9. Pigging the Pipe 10. Between Snake Oil and Rolexes 11. The Future Epilogue Photographs Acknowledgments About Jonathan Waldman For Mom and Dad, and whoever bought that stupid sailboat Only entropy comes easy. —ANTON CHEKHOV PREFACE: A JANKY OLD BOAT They say a lot of things about boats. They say a boat is a hole in the water that you throw money into. They say boat stands for “bring out another thousand.” They say that the pleasures of owning and sailing a boat are comparable to standing, fully clothed, in a cold shower while tearing up twenty-dollar bills. Consequently, they say that the best day of a sailor’s life, aside from the day he buys a boat, is the day he sells it.


Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models by Gabriel Weinberg, Lauren McCann

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, anti-pattern, Anton Chekhov, autonomous vehicles, bank run, barriers to entry, Bayesian statistics, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Broken windows theory, business process, butterfly effect, Cal Newport, Clayton Christensen, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Attenborough, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, discounted cash flows, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Edward Snowden, effective altruism, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, fear of failure, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, framing effect, friendly fire, fundamental attribution error, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hindsight bias, housing crisis, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, illegal immigration, income inequality, information asymmetry, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John Nash: game theory, lateral thinking, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, Lyft, mail merge, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Metcalfe’s law, Milgram experiment, minimum viable product, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Network effects, nuclear winter, offshore financial centre, p-value, Parkinson's law, Paul Graham, peak oil, Peter Thiel, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, placebo effect, Potemkin village, prediction markets, premature optimization, price anchoring, principal–agent problem, publication bias, recommendation engine, remote working, replication crisis, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, school choice, Schrödinger's Cat, selection bias, Shai Danziger, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, survivorship bias, The Present Situation in Quantum Mechanics, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, uber lyft, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, urban planning, Vilfredo Pareto, wikimedia commons

Almost anything can go almost anywhere and ultimately their rooms can get pretty close to this maximum, resulting in a big mess. As entropy increases, things become more randomly arranged. If left to continue forever, this eventually leads to an evenly distributed system, a completely randomly arranged system—clothes and toys anywhere and everywhere! In a closed system, like our kids’ rooms, entropy doesn’t just decrease on its own. Russian playwright Anton Chekhov put it like this: “Only entropy comes easy.” If our kids don’t make an effort to clean up, the room just gets messier and messier. The natural increase of entropy over time in a closed system is known as the second law of thermodynamics. Thermodynamics is the study of heat. If you consider our universe as the biggest closed system, this law leads to a plausible end state of our universe as a homogenous gas, evenly distributed everywhere, commonly known as the heat death of the universe.


pages: 449 words: 127,440

Moscow, December 25th, 1991 by Conor O'Clery

Anton Chekhov, Berlin Wall, central bank independence, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, haute couture, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, Ronald Reagan, Sinatra Doctrine, The Chicago School

On Moscow television on November 30 Yeltsin said he could not imagine a union without Ukraine, but that Russia could not sign a union treaty if Ukraine didn’t. The die was cast. The Soviet president could not bring himself to believe that Ukraine would vote for independence. Most Russians felt they and Ukrainians were politically and culturally of the same stock—Slavs descended from the once united Rus people. Classic Russian writers like Anton Chekhov and Mikhail Bulgakov placed their tales in Ukraine. Gogol and Shevchenko were born there. So too was Brezhnev. Gorbachev and his wife both had Ukrainian blood. They believed Ukraine was to Russia what Bavaria was to Germany. It had been part of greater Russia since the “Eternal Peace” between Russia and Poland three centuries earlier, when Kiev and the Cossack lands east of the Dnieper went over to Russian rule.


pages: 412 words: 128,042

Extreme Economies: Survival, Failure, Future – Lessons From the World’s Limits by Richard Davies

agricultural Revolution, air freight, Anton Chekhov, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, big-box store, cashless society, clean water, complexity theory, deindustrialization, eurozone crisis, failed state, financial innovation, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, James Hargreaves, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, joint-stock company, large denomination, Livingstone, I presume, Malacca Straits, mandatory minimum, manufacturing employment, means of production, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, pension reform, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, school choice, school vouchers, Scramble for Africa, side project, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, spinning jenny, The Chicago School, the payments system, trade route, Travis Kalanick, uranium enrichment, urban planning, wealth creators, white picket fence, working-age population, Y Combinator, young professional

Art is a particular example of a general rule: pick any arena – from science and engineering to literature and culture – and this city is the origin of an innovation that changed the way we see the world. The units we use to measure both temperature (Kelvin) and power (Watt) take their names from Glaswegian inventors. In addition to cutting-edge art the city’s many theatres were known for supporting challenging new work by Anton Chekhov and Henrik Ibsen. It was a connected and dense city with travel made easy thanks to the 1896 launch of the world’s third – and most advanced – underground train. In 1927 a local inventor linked cameras in London to a screen in Glasgow’s Central Hotel, creating the world’s first television broadcast. Glasgow rose to such stature on the back of international trade. As a port, its location was one of the best in Britain: with favourable winds picking up off Scotland’s west coast, sailing from Glasgow to American colonies such as Virginia and Maryland was considerably quicker than setting off from London.


pages: 578 words: 131,346

Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman

Airbnb, Anton Chekhov, basic income, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Broken windows theory, call centre, David Graeber, Donald Trump, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Hans Rosling, invention of writing, invisible hand, knowledge economy, late fees, Mahatma Gandhi, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, Nelson Mandela, New Journalism, placebo effect, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, Stanford prison experiment, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transatlantic slave trade, tulip mania, universal basic income, World Values Survey

The Power of Intrinsic Motivation 14. Homo ludens 15. This Is What Democracy Looks Like PART 5 THE OTHER CHEEK 16. Drinking Tea with Terrorists 17. The Best Remedy for Hate, Injustice and Prejudice 18. When the Soldiers Came Out of the Trenches Epilogue Acknowledgements Notes Index A Note on the Author ‘Man will become better when you show him what he is like.’ Anton Chekhov (1860–1904) PROLOGUE On the eve of the Second World War, the British Army Command found itself facing an existential threat. London was in grave danger. The city, according to a certain Winston Churchill, formed ‘the greatest target in the world, a kind of tremendous fat cow, a valuable fat cow tied up to attract the beasts of prey’.1 The beast of prey was, of course, Adolf Hitler and his war machine.


pages: 481 words: 121,300

Why geography matters: three challenges facing America : climate change, the rise of China, and global terrorism by Harm J. De Blij

agricultural Revolution, airport security, Anton Chekhov, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, colonial exploitation, complexity theory, computer age, crony capitalism, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Eratosthenes, European colonialism, F. W. de Klerk, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global village, illegal immigration, Internet Archive, John Snow's cholera map, Khyber Pass, manufacturing employment, megacity, Mercator projection, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Nelson Mandela, out of africa, RAND corporation, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, special economic zone, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, UNCLOS, UNCLOS

As Figure 11-3 shows, the Russian Far East incorporates one real island, named Sakhalin, and this is an important component of this region's physical as well as cultural geography. From the mid-nineteenth century on, the Russians and the Japanese repeatedly fought over Sakhalin Island, and not until the end of World War II was Soviet control confirmed. When the Russians held it, they used Sakhalin as a penal colony (the great writer Anton Chekhov in one of his books described the terrible conditions under which prisoners lived), but during Soviet times Sakhalin became an increasingly important source of fuels ranging from oil in the north to coal in the south. In post-Soviet years additional finds of oil reserves have made Sakhalin Island a key constituent of the commodity-based Russian economy. Russia's enormous size bestows it with a large inventory of natural resources, among which oil and natural gas have been the key money makers during the post-1991 period.


pages: 476 words: 139,761

Kleptopia: How Dirty Money Is Conquering the World by Tom Burgis

active measures, Anton Chekhov, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Boris Johnson, British Empire, collapse of Lehman Brothers, coronavirus, corporate governance, COVID-19, Covid-19, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, do-ocracy, Donald Trump, energy security, Etonian, failed state, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, Honoré de Balzac, illegal immigration, invisible hand, Julian Assange, liberal capitalism, light touch regulation, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohammed Bouazizi, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, trade route, WikiLeaks

Cast of Characters In London Nigel Wilkins Head of compliance at the London office of the Swiss bank BSI, later on the staff of the City of London regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority Charlotte Martin Nigel’s companion Trefor Williams Ex-UK special forces, investigator at the private intelligence firm Diligence Ron Wahid Bangladeshi-American founder of the private intelligence firm Arcanum Neil Gerrard Lawyer at the City firm Dechert The Trio Alexander Machkevitch aka Sasha Kyrgyz-born member of the Trio of Central Asian billionaires behind Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC) Patokh Chodiev Uzbek-born member of the Trio Alijan Ibragimov Kyrgyz-Uighur member of the Trio Mehmet Dalman British-Cypriot City financier, ENRC director then chairman Victor Hanna The Trio’s man in Africa Shawn McCormick Ex-US intelligence official hired by ENRC The khan Nursultan Nazarbayev Ruler of Kazakhstan since 1989, president until 2019 then chair of the Security Council Rakhat Aliyev aka Sugar Nazarbayev’s son-in-law, later in exile Timur Kulibayev Nazarbayev’s other son-in-law, billionaire Kenes Rakishev Kulibayev’s protégé The oligarch Mukhtar Ablyazov Kazakh ex-minister, tycoon and founder of BTA Bank Peter Sahlas Canadian lawyer retained by Ablyazov Madina Ablyazova Ablyazov’s daughter, in Geneva Iliyas Khrapunov Madina’s husband Leila Khrapunova Kazakh businesswoman, Iliyas’s mother Viktor Khrapunov Kazakh politician, Iliyas’s stepfather Bota Jardemalie Harvard-trained Kazakh lawyer at BTA Bank The gangsters Semyon Mogilevich aka Seva aka the Brainy Don Moscow’s premier criminal moneyman Sergei Mikhailov aka Mikhas Boss of the Solntsevskaya Bratva, a Russian crime syndicate In Africa Billy Rautenbach Zimbabwean businessman, backer of Robert Mugabe’s regime Robert Mugabe Ruler of Zimbabwe, 1980–2017 Emmerson Mnangagwa aka the Crocodile Mugabe’s security chief, then successor Joseph Kabila President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, 2001–2019 Augustin Katumba Mwanke Kabila’s right-hand man, died in 2012 Dan Gertler Israeli mining tycoon close to Kabila and Katumba In North America Felix Sater Russian-American fraudster, money launderer, spy and real estate developer Tevfik Arif Kazakh founder of the New York real estate venture where Sater worked, Bayrock Boris Birshtein Soviet-era moneyman residing in Toronto Alex Shnaider Russian-Canadian billionaire, Birshtein’s protégé and, for a time, son-in-law Epigraph Every man lives his real, most interesting life under cover of secrecy Anton Chekhov, The Lady with the Dog Part I Crisis The secret of a great fortune with no apparent cause is a crime that has been forgotten because it was done properly Honoré de Balzac, Old Goriot 1 The Thief Kensington, January 2008 Moral courage, yes, but it was also mischief, a quality discernible in the creases at the corners of his eyes, that made Nigel Wilkins decide to steal the secrets of a Swiss bank.


pages: 504 words: 147,660

In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction by Gabor Mate, Peter A. Levine

addicted to oil, Albert Einstein, Anton Chekhov, corporate governance, epigenetics, ghettoisation, impulse control, longitudinal study, mass immigration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Naomi Klein, phenotype, placebo effect, Rat Park, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), source of truth, twin studies, Yogi Berra

It is a sign, a signal, a symptom of distress. It is a language that tells us about a plight that must be understood. ALICE MILLER Breaking Down the Wall of Silence In the search for truth human beings take two steps forward and one step back. Suffering, mistakes and weariness of life thrust them back, but the thirst for truth and stubborn will drive them forward. And who knows? Perhaps they will reach the real truth at last. ANTON CHEKHOV The Duel AUTHOR’S NOTE The persons, quotes, case examples and life histories in this book are all authentic; no embellishing details have been added and no “composite” characters have been created. To protect privacy, pseudonyms are used for All my patients, except for two people who directly requested to be named. In two other cases I have provided disguised physical descriptions, again in the interests of privacy.


pages: 487 words: 147,891

McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld by Misha Glenny

anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, Berlin Wall, blood diamonds, BRICs, colonial rule, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Firefox, forensic accounting, friendly fire, glass ceiling, illegal immigration, joint-stock company, market bubble, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, Nick Leeson, offshore financial centre, Pearl River Delta, place-making, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, Skype, special economic zone, Stephen Hawking, trade liberalization, trade route, Transnistria, unemployed young men, upwardly mobile

“The real money started coming in when they opened up the airport at Idlewild,” as JFK was originally known. Idlewild had a maritime equivalent in 1990s Ukraine—Odessa. As I stroll along Primorsky Boulevard from Sergei Eisenstein’s famous steps toward the Opera House, Odessa looks magnificent as it hugs the northern Black Sea coast. Indeed, the recent reconstruction of the center is so evocative of a glamorous past that I can imagine Anton Chekhov, Isadora Duncan, and their fashionable friends sweeping in and out of the Londonskaya Hotel, where they used to stay. A century ago a visit to Odessa was de rigueur for the moneyed classes of Russia and Europe alike. This elegant illusion is maintained as I walk up Derebasovskaya Street, where peddlers are wooing tourists by performing with live snakes and crocodiles (less harmful than some of the other reptiles that creep around here).


pages: 547 words: 148,732

How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence by Michael Pollan

1960s counterculture, Albert Einstein, Anton Chekhov, Burning Man, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, dark matter, Douglas Engelbart, East Village, experimental subject, Exxon Valdez, Golden Gate Park, Google Earth, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, Internet Archive, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Marshall McLuhan, Mason jar, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral panic, Mother of all demos, placebo effect, Ralph Waldo Emerson, randomized controlled trial, Ronald Reagan, scientific mainstream, scientific worldview, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), sensible shoes, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Whole Earth Catalog

(Assuming the treatment works as well when repeated.) But the potential of the therapy has regulators and researchers and much of the mental health community feeling hopeful. “I believe this could revolutionize mental health care,” Watts told me. Her conviction is shared by every other psychedelic researcher I interviewed. * * * • • • “IF MANY REMEDIES are prescribed for an illness,” wrote Anton Chekhov, who was a physician as well as a writer, “you may be certain that the illness has no cure.” But what about the reverse of Chekhov’s statement? What are we to make of a single remedy being prescribed for a great many illnesses? How could it be that psychedelic therapy might be helpful for disorders as different as depression, addiction, the anxiety of the cancer patient, not to mention obsessive-compulsive disorder (about which there has been one encouraging study) and eating disorders (which Hopkins now plans to study)?


pages: 479 words: 144,453

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

23andMe, agricultural Revolution, algorithmic trading, Anne Wojcicki, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, call centre, Chris Urmson, cognitive dissonance, Columbian Exchange, computer age, Deng Xiaoping, don't be evil, drone strike, European colonialism, experimental subject, falling living standards, Flash crash, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, glass ceiling, global village, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Minecraft, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay, mutually assured destruction, new economy, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, placebo effect, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, stem cell, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, The Future of Employment, too big to fail, trade route, Turing machine, Turing test, ultimatum game, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero-sum game

It is highly likely that networks controlling vital infrastructure facilities in the USA and many other countries are already crammed with such codes). However, we should not confuse ability with motivation. Though cyber warfare introduces new means of destruction, it doesn’t necessarily add new incentives to use them. Over the last seventy years humankind has broken not only the Law of the Jungle, but also the Chekhov Law. Anton Chekhov famously said that a gun appearing in the first act of a play will inevitably be fired in the third. Throughout history, if kings and emperors acquired some new weapon, sooner or later they were tempted to use it. Since 1945, however, humankind has learned to resist this temptation. The gun that appeared in the first act of the Cold War was never fired. By now we are accustomed to living in a world full of undropped bombs and unlaunched missiles, and have become experts in breaking both the Law of the Jungle and the Chekhov Law.


A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Anton Chekhov, glass ceiling, security theater, stakhanovite

So, instead of sending him on his way, the Count led him back up to his study where, having taken a seat, Mishka turned his hat in his hands. “Weren’t you scheduled to arrive in Moscow tomorrow?” the Count ventured after a brief silence. “Yes,” said Mishka with a careless wave of his hat. “But I came a day early at Shalamov’s request. . . .” An acquaintance from their university days, Viktor Shalamov was now the senior editor at Goslitizdat. It was his idea to have Mishka edit their forthcoming volumes of Anton Chekhov’s collected letters—a project that Mishka had been slaving over since 1934. “Ah,” said the Count brightly. “You must be nearly done.” “Nearly done,” Mishka repeated with a laugh. “You’re quite right, Sasha. I am nearly done. In fact, all that remains is to remove a word.” Here is what had unfolded: Early that morning, Mikhail Mindich had arrived in Moscow on the overnight train from Leningrad.


pages: 562 words: 153,825

Dark Mirror: Edward Snowden and the Surveillance State by Barton Gellman

4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, active measures, Anton Chekhov, bitcoin, Cass Sunstein, cloud computing, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, Debian, desegregation, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, financial independence, Firefox, GnuPG, Google Hangouts, informal economy, Jacob Appelbaum, job automation, Julian Assange, MITM: man-in-the-middle, national security letter, planetary scale, private military company, ransomware, Robert Gordon, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, standardized shipping container, Steven Levy, telepresence, undersea cable, web of trust, WikiLeaks, zero day, Zimmermann PGP

“database of ruin”: Paul Ohm, “Broken Promises of Privacy: Responding to the Surprising Failure of Anonymization,” UCLA Law Review 57 (2010): 1701, available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1450006. “if revealed, would cause”: Paul Ohm, “Don’t Build a Database of Ruin,” Harvard Business Review, August 23, 2012, https://hbr.org/2012/08/dont-build-a-database-of-ruin. Chekhov’s famous admonition: The best-known version is: “If in Act I you have a pistol hanging on the wall, then it must fire in the last act.” Donald Rayfield, Anton Chekhov: A Life (New York: Henry Holt, 1997). Chekhov meant that a playwright should not break an implicit promise to the audience, but the expectations behind that promise have their roots in observed experience of the world. Most weapons are used eventually. In surveillance as in war, capabilities once invented are put to use. “Is It the End”: The presentation was prepared by technical managers tasked with improving data quality.


Bleeding Edge by Pynchon, Thomas

addicted to oil, AltaVista, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, Bernie Madoff, big-box store, Burning Man, carried interest, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, East Village, Hacker Ethic, index card, invisible hand, jitney, late capitalism, margin call, Network effects, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, rent control, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, telemarketer, Y2K

Lied about your age down to the multiplex so’s you could go watch ’em teen slasher movies together. She’ll be gone soon enough, appreciate her while you can.” And he’s out the door. Maxine and Tallis stand looking at each other. The King croons on. “I was going to advise ‘Dump him,’” Maxine pensive, “while shaking you back and forth . . . but now I think I’ll just settle for the shaking part.” • • • HORST IS NODDED OUT on the couch in front of The Anton Chekhov Story, starring Edward Norton, with Peter Sarsgaard as Stanislavski. Maxine tries to tiptoe on into the kitchen, but Horst, not being domestic, tuned to motel rhythms even in his sleep, flounders awake. “Maxi, what the heck.” “Sorry, didn’t mean to—” “Where’ve you been all night?” Not yet having slid far enough into delusion to answer this literally, “I was hanging out with Tallis, she and the schmuck just parted ways, she’s got a new place, she was happy to have some company.”


pages: 578 words: 168,350

Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies by Geoffrey West

Alfred Russel Wallace, Anton Chekhov, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black Swan, British Empire, butterfly effect, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, clean water, complexity theory, computer age, conceptual framework, continuous integration, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, dark matter, Deng Xiaoping, double helix, Edward Glaeser, endogenous growth, Ernest Rutherford, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Frank Gehry, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, Guggenheim Bilbao, housing crisis, Index librorum prohibitorum, invention of agriculture, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, laissez-faire capitalism, life extension, Mahatma Gandhi, mandelbrot fractal, Marchetti’s constant, Masdar, megacity, Murano, Venice glass, Murray Gell-Mann, New Urbanism, Peter Thiel, profit motive, publish or perish, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Florida, Silicon Valley, smart cities, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, too big to fail, transaction costs, urban planning, urban renewal, Vernor Vinge, Vilfredo Pareto, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, wikimedia commons, working poor

Like all organisms, we metabolize energy and resources in a highly efficient way in order to combat the continuous fight against the inevitable production of entropy in the form of waste products and dissipative forces that cause physical damage. As we begin to lose the multiple localized battles against entropy we age, ultimately losing the war and succumbing to death. Entropy kills. Or as the great Russian playwright Anton Chekhov poignantly remarked, “Only entropy comes easy.” A central feature of how life is sustained is the transportation of metabolic energy through space-filling networks across all scales to service and feed cells, mitochondria, respiratory complexes, genomes, and other functional intracellular units, as symbolized here. However, these very systems that sustain us are continually causing damage and degrading our bodies.


pages: 1,331 words: 163,200

Hands-On Machine Learning With Scikit-Learn and TensorFlow: Concepts, Tools, and Techniques to Build Intelligent Systems by Aurélien Géron

Amazon Mechanical Turk, Anton Chekhov, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, constrained optimization, correlation coefficient, crowdsourcing, don't repeat yourself, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, friendly AI, ImageNet competition, information retrieval, iterative process, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, NP-complete, optical character recognition, P = NP, p-value, pattern recognition, pull request, recommendation engine, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, SpamAssassin, speech recognition, stochastic process

Thanks to Grégoire Mesnil, who reviewed Part II and contributed very interesting practical advice on training neural networks. Thanks as well to Eddy Hung, Salim Sémaoune, Karim Matrah, Ingrid von Glehn, Iain Smears, and Vincent Guilbeau for reviewing Part I and making many useful suggestions. And I also wish to thank my father-in-law, Michel Tessier, former mathematics teacher and now a great translator of Anton Chekhov, for helping me iron out some of the mathematics and notations in this book and reviewing the linear algebra Jupyter notebook. And of course, a gigantic “thank you” to my dear brother Sylvain, who reviewed every single chapter, tested every line of code, provided feedback on virtually every section, and encouraged me from the first line to the last. Love you, bro! Many thanks as well to O’Reilly’s fantastic staff, in particular Nicole Tache, who gave me insightful feedback, always cheerful, encouraging, and helpful.


The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union by Serhii Plokhy

affirmative action, Anton Chekhov, Berlin Wall, bilateral investment treaty, cuban missile crisis, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Potemkin village, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Sinatra Doctrine, Stanislav Petrov, Transnistria

With the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, German reunification under way, and Mikhail Gorbachev adopting the “Sinatra doctrine,” which allowed Moscow’s East European clients to “do it their way” and eventually leave the Kremlin’s embrace, the conflict at the core of the Cold War was resolved. Soviet troops began to leave East Germany and other countries of the region. But the nuclear arsenals were virtually unaffected by these changes in the political climate. The famous Russian playwright Anton Chekhov once remarked that if there was a gun onstage in the first act of a play, it would be fired in the next. The two superpowers had placed plenty of nuclear arms on the world stage. Sooner or later there would be a second act involving different actors who might want to fire them. Nuclear arms were an integral element of the Cold War, responsible both for its most dangerous turns and for the fact that the two superpowers, the first to possess atomic weapons, never entered into a direct, open conflict—the risk of nuclear annihilation was too great.


pages: 603 words: 182,826

Owning the Earth: The Transforming History of Land Ownership by Andro Linklater

agricultural Revolution, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, Ayatollah Khomeini, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, British Empire, business cycle, colonial rule, Corn Laws, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, facts on the ground, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, Gini coefficient, Google Earth, income inequality, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kibera, Kickstarter, land reform, land tenure, light touch regulation, market clearing, means of production, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohammed Bouazizi, Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay, mortgage debt, Northern Rock, Peace of Westphalia, Pearl River Delta, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, quantitative easing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, refrigerator car, Right to Buy, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, spinning jenny, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, ultimatum game, wage slave, WikiLeaks, wikimedia commons, working poor

That level of lending gave each landowner’s property in European Russia, from peasant to Grand Duke, an average capital value of about ten rubles or fifteen dollars an acre. By chance, that was almost exactly the value of land in the United States according to the 1850 census, a period when its rural economy was beginning to turn on the afterburners of industrialization. Writing at the same time as Lenin but with rather more humanity, Anton Chekhov gently lamented and laughed at the impact of this increasingly energetic, capitalist use of land on the Oblomovan outlook of old-fashioned aristocrats. In The Cherry Orchard, the past is represented by the charming fecklessness of the orchard’s owner, Madame Ranevskaya, who is incapable of dealing with the fact that the land must be sold off to pay her debts; the future is the emotionally inept Lopahkin, the family’s former serf, now a wealthy businessman, who buys the estate and chops down the cherry trees to build vacation homes.


pages: 685 words: 203,949

The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel J. Levitin

airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Anton Chekhov, Bayesian statistics, big-box store, business process, call centre, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, cognitive bias, complexity theory, computer vision, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Eratosthenes, Exxon Valdez, framing effect, friendly fire, fundamental attribution error, Golden Gate Park, Google Glasses, haute cuisine, impulse control, index card, indoor plumbing, information retrieval, invention of writing, iterative process, jimmy wales, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, life extension, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, more computing power than Apollo, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, phenotype, placebo effect, pre–internet, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, Rubik’s Cube, shared worldview, Skype, Snapchat, social intelligence, statistical model, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Turing test, ultimatum game, zero-sum game

In the extreme, an encyclopedia entry could tell you every possible fact about a person or place, leaving nothing out—but such an entry would be too unwieldy to be useful. The usefulness of most professional summaries is that someone with perspective has used their best judgment about what, in the scheme of things, should be included. The person most involved in editing the entry on Charles Dickens may have no connection to the person writing the entry on Anton Chekhov, and so we end up with idiosyncratic articles that don’t give equivalent weight to their lives, their works, their influences, and their historical place. For scientific, medical, and technical topics, even in peer-reviewed journals, the information sources aren’t always clearly on display. Technical articles can be difficult to understand without specific training, and there are controversies in many fields that require experience to understand and resolve.


The Rough Guide to New York City by Martin Dunford

Anton Chekhov, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, Buckminster Fuller, buttonwood tree, car-free, Charles Lindbergh, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, clean water, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, desegregation, Donald Trump, East Village, Edward Thorp, Exxon Valdez, Frank Gehry, glass ceiling, haute cuisine, illegal immigration, Jane Jacobs, market bubble, Norman Mailer, paper trading, post-work, Saturday Night Live, sustainable-tourism, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the High Line, transcontinental railway, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, white flight, Yogi Berra, young professional

Later members included the Barrymores, Frank Sinatra, and (oddly) Sir Winston Churchill, while more recent inductees are Morgan Freeman and Liv Ullmann.These days it seems to be the club that is trying to keep regular society out – rather than vice versa. The club does, however, host a year-round program of lunch-hour theater called UNION S QUARE , GRAM E RC Y PARK | The Flatiron District Food for Thought, featuring one-act plays by writers as diverse as Anton Chekhov and Tony Kushner and supplemented by a light buffet lunch. The program often feels more like an exclusive salon featuring marquee-name actors, making advance booking highly recommended (shows twice per week on Mon, Wed, Thurs, or Fri; lunch 12.30pm, show 1.30pm; $75; T 212/362-2560, W www.foodforthought productions.com). Next door at no. 15 is the equally patrician National Arts Club (T 212/4753424, W www.nationalartsclub.org), fittingly located in the rather grand Tilden Mansion.


pages: 1,034 words: 241,773

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker

3D printing, access to a mobile phone, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, Arthur Eddington, artificial general intelligence, availability heuristic, Ayatollah Khomeini, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, business cycle, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, clockwork universe, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, distributed generation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, double helix, effective altruism, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, end world poverty, endogenous growth, energy transition, European colonialism, experimental subject, Exxon Valdez, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, first-past-the-post, Flynn Effect, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, frictionless, frictionless market, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, Hans Rosling, hedonic treadmill, helicopter parent, Hobbesian trap, humanitarian revolution, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of writing, Jaron Lanier, Joan Didion, job automation, Johannes Kepler, John Snow's cholera map, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge economy, l'esprit de l'escalier, Laplace demon, life extension, long peace, longitudinal study, Louis Pasteur, Martin Wolf, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Nate Silver, Nathan Meyer Rothschild: antibiotics, Nelson Mandela, New Journalism, Norman Mailer, nuclear winter, obamacare, open economy, Paul Graham, peak oil, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, precision agriculture, prediction markets, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, Republic of Letters, Richard Feynman, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, Saturday Night Live, science of happiness, Scientific racism, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Simon Kuznets, Skype, smart grid, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, supervolcano, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, union organizing, universal basic income, University of East Anglia, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, War on Poverty, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, women in the workforce, working poor, World Values Survey, Y2K

The estimate refers to eukaryotic species (those with a nucleus, excluding viruses and bacteria). 4. The party of stupid: See chapter 21, notes 71 and 73. 5. Mooney 2005; see also Pinker 2008b. 6. Lamar Smith and the House Science Committee: J. D. Trout, “The House Science Committee Hates Science and Should Be Disbanded,” Salon, May 17, 2016. 7. J. Mervis, “Updated: U.S. House Passes Controversial Bill on NSF Research,” Science, Feb. 11, 2016. 8. From Note-book of Anton Chekhov. The quote continues, “What is national is no longer science.” 9. J. Lears, “Same Old New Atheism: On Sam Harris,” The Nation, April 27, 2011. 10. L. Kass, “Keeping Life Human: Science, Religion, and the Soul,” Wriston Lecture, Manhattan Institute, Oct. 18, 2007, https://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/2007-wriston-lecture-keeping-life-human-science-religion-and-soul-8894.html. See also L.


pages: 1,073 words: 314,528

Strategy: A History by Lawrence Freedman

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Black Swan, British Empire, business process, butterfly effect, centre right, Charles Lindbergh, circulation of elites, cognitive dissonance, coherent worldview, collective bargaining, complexity theory, conceptual framework, corporate raider, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, defense in depth, desegregation, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, en.wikipedia.org, endogenous growth, endowment effect, Ford paid five dollars a day, framing effect, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, lateral thinking, linear programming, loose coupling, loss aversion, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, mental accounting, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Nelson Mandela, Norbert Wiener, Norman Mailer, oil shock, Pareto efficiency, performance metric, Philip Mirowski, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, shareholder value, social intelligence, Steven Pinker, strikebreaker, The Chicago School, The Myth of the Rational Market, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thomas Davenport, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Torches of Freedom, Toyota Production System, transaction costs, ultimatum game, unemployed young men, Upton Sinclair, urban sprawl, Vilfredo Pareto, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

When his company announced that it would abandon a strategy of making good products in favor of a “desperate strategy of mergers, business spin-offs, fruitless partnerships, and random reorganizations” and an accelerated “program of paying the good employees to leave,” the stock price went up by three points.32 CHAPTER 35 Deliberate or Emergent If many remedies are prescribed for an illness, you may be certain that the illness has no cure. —Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard THE QUESTION OF whether senior management really could give a business strategic direction was turned into one of the more influential dichotomies in the field, that between deliberate or emergent strategies. Henry Mintzberg, who was responsible for the most sustained challenge to the so-called design model of strategy, stressed the possibility of a continuing, intelligent learning response to a changing environment.


pages: 1,213 words: 376,284

Empire of Things: How We Became a World of Consumers, From the Fifteenth Century to the Twenty-First by Frank Trentmann

Airbnb, Anton Chekhov, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, British Empire, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, car-free, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, clean water, collaborative consumption, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, cross-subsidies, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, equity premium, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial exclusion, fixed income, food miles, full employment, germ theory of disease, global village, haute cuisine, high net worth, income inequality, index card, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, James Watt: steam engine, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, labour mobility, libertarian paternalism, Livingstone, I presume, longitudinal study, mass immigration, McMansion, mega-rich, moral panic, mortgage debt, Murano, Venice glass, Naomi Klein, New Urbanism, post-industrial society, post-materialism, postnationalism / post nation state, profit motive, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, rent control, Richard Thaler, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, Scientific racism, Scramble for Africa, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, stakhanovite, the built environment, the market place, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade liberalization, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban sprawl, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, working poor, young professional, zero-sum game

Moscow’s Muir and Mirrielees delivered across the Russian empire from Poland to Vladivostok, as long as items were worth 50 roubles or more. In 1894, the Bon Marché distributed 1.5 million catalogues, half to the provinces, another 15 per cent abroad. It sent packages worth 40 million francs a year to provincial towns and villages.91 Pieces of urban fashion and comfort could be had thousands of miles away from the metropole. When Anton Chekhov was recovering from tuberculosis in Yalta in the late 1890s, he continued to get his hats, detachable collars, curtains and stoves from Muir and Mirrielees.92 American writers, preoccupied with the melting pot, have emphasized the role of the department store in fusing a new national identity. Globally, however, such unifying forces were counterbalanced by social and ethnic distinctions. The department store cultivated a transnational style that gave national elites a chance to demonstrate their modernity and distance themselves from ‘traditional’, ‘lower’ social and ethnic groups.